The Dallas Cowboys schedule for the 2017 NFL season was released on Thursday night, so how do things shake out for the defending NFC East champs?
Looking back at the success that was the 2016 season, the Dallas Cowboys had some surprises, especially then-rookies Dak Prescott as the starting quarterback and Ezekiel Elliott at running back. Not many could have predicted Prescott would become the Offensive Rookie of the Year after he was drafted in the fourth round out of Mississippi State.
Last season, Prescott took over for the injured Tony Romo during the preseason, became the starter and played so well the Cowboys are now his team as the starting signal caller. Meanwhile, Romo retired and became a broadcaster this offseason. Prescott finished the 2016 season with the third-best quarterback rating in the league, trailing only Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, both of whom led their teams to the Super Bowl last season.
Though expectations were high for Elliott as a first-round choice, did anyone expect him to surpass the rookie numbers of Hall of Fame Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett? Elliott finished as the leading rusher in the NFL with 1,756 yards on 344 attempts. He was third in rushing touchdowns with 15 as well.
As a whole last season, the Cowboys played excellent football, won some close games and for the regular season they were the best team in the NFC. Then came the playoffs, where in the NFC Divisional Round, they lost to the Green Bay Packers, 34-31.
Even though last year’s ending was bitter compared to the regular season, the Cowboys have a lot to build off of for the upcoming 2017 season. This year, the Cowboys’ opponents at home include usual suspects in the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles. Dallas will also host the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers and the Packers.
On the road, the Cowboys will travel to their NFC East rivals, along with trips to the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 2017 schedule for the Dallas Cowboys:
It will be very tough for the Cowboys to repeat what was a remarkable 13-win regular season as they lost some veterans on defense due to free agency, but they have the players with a mix of veterans and young talent on offense that can keep things moving in the right direction.
The Cowboys are working to build back up their defense with one addition this offseason being defensive back Nolan Carroll (formerly of the Eagles) to make not just another run at the NFC East crown, but to surpass where they were in the playoffs last season. Also with the potential debut of linebacker Jaylon Smith on the horizon, if all keeps going well in his rehab, the Cowboys could have a defense that stands equal with their offense this upcoming NFL season.
The top priority for the Cowboys from here on out should be working on the aforementioned defense in the 2017 NFL Draft. If the cards are dealt in their favor for a second consecutive year, and the Cowboys have draft success, the very high expectations set for this team internally and from the fan base can be achieved.